Deer expend a lot of energy during rut season. Bucks are so busy making rubs and scrapes and chasing does that they don’t have much time to feed. This causes them to lose a significant amount of weight by the time winter comes around. Replenish the deer herd’s health and provide them nutritious food choices that will help them go into spring healthy and strong. Check out the tips below to learn how and why you should help feed your deer herd post-rut.
*It is important to note that the guidelines below only apply to areas where it is legal to put out deer feed and deer attractants. Some counties in Minnesota are under a deer feeding and/or deer attractant ban due to the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in some deer. Review this map on the Minnesota DNR website to see if your county falls under these ordinances.
Choose the Right Feed
Deer will rely on the natural food sources the forest provides if they can’t find a manmade food source. But, if they’ve been feeding on your property all year, then they will continue to feed from it during the winter months. A deer’s stomach can’t handle a drastic change in diet this time of year. They are preparing to bed down to protect themselves from the harsh weather conditions, so their body is carefully storing everything it eats. Their metabolism slows down significantly in winter. A sudden, drastic change in their diet will throw their very fine-tuned digestive system out of whack. If you’ve been feeding the deer all year, continue to put out the same type of feed you have been all along. If you haven’t been feeding them and are thinking about starting now, make sure you’re providing them with things they could normally get in the wild this time of year. This includes woody browse like twigs and stems.
Use Your Feedbank Gravity Feeder
Providing supplemental feed in your Feedbank Gravity Deer Feeder will help the herd avoid digging through the snow for food entirely. You could increase the deer herd’s food choices by positioning your Feedbank Gravity Feeder near a grouping of trees or other foliage. This will allow deer to choose from your feed and the natural woody browse they’re accustomed to this time of year. They could potentially receive double the nutrition.
What You Can Do if You’re Under the Ban
If you’re among the counties underneath an ordinance, you can help the deer conserve their energy by clearing snow from their natural food sources. If their natural food sources are completely buried underneath a mound of snow, the deer will likely abandon the plot rather than expend the energy to dig it out. Keep these areas accessible to the deer and help them reach the food easier and conserve energy. In Minnesota, where the rut happens earlier in the year than in the South and snow is all too common, the deer herd will be battling the cold for months.
It’s important to make sure your deer herd goes into spring healthy. This will ensure that they can use spring food sources to grow instead of using the nutrition to replenish what they lost in the winter months. It will help aid in antler growth, fawn reproduction and overall herd health. If it’s legal in your area, keep up your Feedbank Gravity Feeders all winter long.
Do you feed the deer in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments below!